How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Elkhorn City 41522
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Elkhorn City KY is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Elkhorn City dental practice and can undertake a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Kentucky dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Kentucky dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Elkhorn City dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kentucky practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Kentucky junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Elkhorn City area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Elkhorn City home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Elkhorn City area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Kentucky schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Elkhorn City area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Elkhorn City area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Elkhorn City area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Elkhorn City dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Kentucky schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 41522 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Elkhorn City in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Elkhorn City KYPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.